Sainsbury’s cheered by Christmas festivities

Sainsbury’s has outpaced its rivals over Christmas as strong premium food and non-food sales lifted sales.

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The supermarket says sales at stores open for than one year increased 5.4% in the 14 weeks to 8 January.

The increase bettered the 4.3% registered in the previous quarter. The supermarket also looks to have had the best Christmas of the “big four” supermarkets.

Morrisons said Monday (10 December) that sales increased 1% over the festive period. Tesco reports tomorrow (12 January) but recent Nielsen data forecasts it and Asda’s growth was slower over Christmas.

The supermarket adds that non-food sales grew at three times the rate of food, helped by marketing initiatives including the Shrek 3 tie-up for the movie’s DVD release, while the relaunched Taste the Difference range boosted food income.

Sainsbury’s trails Tesco and Asda in terms of annual sales but registered the second largest share of the market in the four weeks to 26 December with 16.6% of all supermarket sales compared with Asda’s 16.5%, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Asda, however, retained second spot over the final quarter of 2010.

Justin King, chief executive, says, “Our strategy of providing universal customer appeal through great food at fair prices has helped Sainsbury’s to deliver its best-ever Christmas resulting in like-for-like sales growth for the quarter.”

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